LR/RI home


ESOL and  EL/Civics

Practitioner research


Learning, Dis/abilities

Links to resources
corrections education
intergenerational learning
workplace education

RI: learning centers and 
community resources 

Literature and learning

Practitioner  resources

Technology and Learning

Women and literacy

Writing from the field

Writing from the field

image of a pen:
reflection, discussion, ideas

This page is intended to provide an ongoing space for the exchange of ideas, articles, reflections and other writing relevant to our work with adult learning and teaching, community development and literacy generally. Members and friends of the adult education community are encouraged to send writing to LR/RI, via email, snail mail (PO Box 1974, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912) or fax ([401] 863-3094). Please send your writing - the site is here for learners, practitioners and others with an interest in adult learning, language and literacy. New writing and responses to the writing on this page will be posted as received.  Additional resource related to utilizing literature within literacy learning appears on LR/RI literature and learning page.

Resources to support Strategies for Writing Instruction, a workshop process facilitated by RIAEPDC staff

Buss, K. and Karnowski, L. Reading and Writing: Nonfiction Genres. IRA. 2003.

Calkins, Lucy. The Nuts and Bolts of Teaching Writing. Heinemann: FirstHand. 2003.

Culham, Ruth. Traits of Writing: The Complete Guide for Middle School. Scholastic. 2010.

Fisher, D. and Frey, N. Scaffolded Writing Instruction: Teaching With a Gradual-Release Framework, Grades 3-8. Scholastic. 2007.

Fletcher, R. and Portalupi, J. Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide. Heinemann. 2001.

Fletcher, R. What A Writer Needs. Heinemann. 1993.

Kemper, D. and all. Write Ahead: A Student Handbook for Writing and Learning. Great Source Education Group. 2004.

Samway, Katherine. When English Language Learners Write: Connecting Research to Practice, K-8. Heinemann. 2006.
read Chapter 6 here

Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing, A Common Core Workshop Curriculum (PDF document)

Teaching Excellence in Adult Literacy (TEAL) Just Write! Guide
The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education, and the American Institutes for Research announce the publication of the TEAL Just Write! Guide. The culmination of two years of work in identifying research-based instructional practices in the content area of writing, this guide is a resource for ABE teachers. It is intended to increase familiarity with evidence-based writing instruction and facilitate translation of research findings into teaching practices and products that will enhance the quality of instruction delivered to adult learners.

PDF version of the TEAL Just Write Guide!:
HTML version of the TEAL Just Write Guide!:

 -Mary Ann Corley, Ph.D. Principal Research Analyst and TEAL Project Director American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC

Academic writing materials, drawing on classification of genre families of assessed student writing and evidence from the BAWE corpus, on the British Council website

Convey ideas in writing - writing standard and support from Equipped for the Future

Research in Writing:  Implications for Adult Literacy Education - by Marilyn K. Gillespie, Volume 2, Chapter 3, The Annual Review of  Adult Learning and Literacy.  Highly readable overview of the learning and teaching of writing to adults.
Beginnings: Ohio Writers' Conference - annual publication and celebration of adult learners' writing

From a Filipino Death March Survivor...   by Bino A. Realuyo, writer and adult literacy educator whose first poetry collection, The Gods We Worship Live Next Door, is the recipient of the 2005 Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry.  Read more about Bino Realuyo here.

ESL Class: Grammar Lesson - a poem by Diane Pecoraro, long time ESOL educator and writer.

The Neighborhood Stories Project - Teens and adults in New Orleans, including recent response to Hurricane Katrina

Real Conditions - a publication of the University of Illinois at Chicago's Community Writing Project; the Writing Project's mission is to bring parents and other adult community members into the schools as equal participants in the educational process. and - scroll down to

see also Amateur Writing Group's New Director Pitches Its Story  - how ordinary people come to write

Poetry Workshop Planning Guide - from Providence's New Urban Arts.  Designed for youth mentors, with ideas for everybody.

In partnership with Rick Benjamin and his course Poetry in Service to the Community the Swearer Center for Public Service has launched a companion web site,   Poetry in Classrooms and Community,  which includes sample syllabi from the course, lesson plans and poems written by youth.  Will grow to include new lessons each semester.  While the primary audience is youth/youth educators, many of the ideas here are adaptable to adult literacy and ESOL learners. Design by Laura Tan '02.

Seth Biderman, talk to SCALE participants: Seth Biderman, a 1997 Brown graduate, shares a talk he gave to the Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education on February 28, 1998. Seth's clear views on learning and teaching make sense on many levels; this important piece would be an interesting way to start a discussion about learning and teaching in many contexts.

Collected Visions, a site comprised of writing and images from all over.
Current writing attitudes and practices in selected adult literacy programs in western Canada - study considering practices and views about writing as a means to greater self-awareness.
Dialogue Journals: Interactive Writing to Develop Language and Literacy  by Joy Kreeft Peyton, National Center for ESL Literacy Education (NCLE)
The Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers - umbrella organisation for independent writing workshops and community publishers who wish to share their skills and work with their communities.  " Some 'FED' groups focus on particular areas such as adult literacy, survivors of the mental health system or homelesness. Membership is worldwide representing over 4,000 people who meet regularly to write; offer constuctive criticism; produce books and tapes; perform and share skills."

Field Notes - Volume 14, Number 2,  Fall  2004 - focus on writing
Focus on Basics, Volume 3, Issue D, December 1999 - focus on writing instruction

Gateways Community Voice -  wonderful compendium of life stories, resources for creating same and community histories from New York.

Janet Isserlis - Gender, race and class: aren't we all the same? - from an article for the Change Agent.

literacy and learning in the lives of an american family - Henry C. Amoroso, Jr.  University of Southern Maine
Maureen Lawlor - There are no typical days There are no typical days in a classroom. The combination of student personalities, the surroundings and even the weather gives each day a different flavor. I teach in a setting that is not so typical and I teach students who do not fit the mainstream description of what constitutes a student but nonetheless I am a teacher and they are my pupils.

The National Writing Project - Improving the teaching of writing in the nation's schools
Although focused on K-12 writing, interesting pieces about learning, teaching and using writing that are highly applicable to adult learning.  Seach the site, for example, for Susan Lytle and other pieces on reflective practice.

Purposes, Audiences, and Formats for Adult Writing - colloquium at TESOL '98, March 17-21
Taking Action against Violence - (from The Change Agent September 1996) by Students in the Intermediate Class Dorcas Place Parent Literacy Center and their teacher, Rebecca Garland
Voices from the fieldan online periodical produced by the Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory, a program of The Education Alliance at Brown University. Its purpose is to present issues from the perspectives of teachers experiencing change, challenges, and growth as education reform takes shape.
Write to Learn Café - wonderful compendium of writing, resources for writing, access to others doing writing work with adult learners and practitioners, based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Writing about writing from Joy Kreeft Peyton, Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC, Gail Weinstein, San Francisco State University, Loren McGrail, Literacy South, Durham, NC, Lee Weinstein, Community Language Access Society, Vancouver, BC, Hilary Stern, Casa Latina, Seattle, WA Heide Spruck Wrigley, Aguirre International, San Mateo, CA and Janet Isserlis, Literacy Resources/RI, Providence, RI.

Writing from learners at Dorcas Place in Providence.

Writings about self defense

Writings about a recent self defense workshop from learners in Debby Venator's ESOL class at William D'Abate School in Providence. 

Readings from the field

The Age Poem: Building a Community of Trust - By Linda Christensen
" Poetry is a political action undertaken for the sake of information, the faith, the exorcism, and the lyrical invention, that telling the truth makes possible. Poetry means taking control of the language of your life. Good poems can interdict a suicide, rescue a love  affair, and build a revolution in which speaking and listening to  somebody becomes the first and last purpose to every social encounter. I would hope that folks throughout the U.S.A. would  consider the creation of poems as a foundation for true  community: a fearless democratic society."  June Jordan from Rethinking Schools

SO FAR: Words from Learners Edited by Jean Bennett, Richard Jaccoma and Lee Weinstein

"We began this project because we believed it would be exciting to create a stage for people who are rarely heard. Challenged adults can't often get into literacy classes. Programs that do admit them, for whatever reason, often end up occupying their time with busy- work. SO FAR is a result of our work with one group of learners over a space of one year. We interviewed them in one-to-one and group discussions, and ran a monthly writing workshop. With the exception of the introduction and the short biographical sketches of each contributor, every word in this book was spoken or written by the learner-contributors.

SO FAR is remarkable in the creativity it has unleashed. The themes in this book are universal: the struggle to overcome a lifetime of negative labelling and find meaning in one's existence. It is our deepest wish that other professionals who work with challenged adults and literacy learners will be inspired by what they see here."

also see LR/RI's tutor/teacher resource page for more practitioner-based and -generated writing and resources.

THE JOURNAL OF ORDINARY THOUGHT - The Journal of Ordinary Thought (JOT) is part of the Neighborhood Writing Alliance, and is also affiliated with the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Quietly Torn - " The sole purpose of our magazine is to be the voice for our community andourselves. To let the world and other communities around  us know of our existence. To let people know about the hardships of growing up Iu Mien in America, changing our  individual lives to fit into our environment, finding th middle ground between our two cultures and at the same time, figuring out who we really are.  Fifteen Iu Mien young women from Richmond, California contributed to this magazine." [ - as of May, 2001, this link has become deactivated, but remains on the page in the event that anyone can tell me where Quietly Torn has gone]

"Rapid writing... is my cup of tea" - Adult upgrading students' use of writing strategies, by Pamela Young, one in a series of reports by members of the Alberta Research in Practice in Adult Literacy (RiPAL) Network.

Spain's Literacy Program Unleashes Deep Yearnings By Daniel Woolls, on womens enews: "After teaching older women to read, a Spanish literacy program encourages the students to write about their lives. The results are sometimes sheer poetry."

Writings from the Adult Education in ESOL interest section's academic session, Critical Issues for Women in Adult ESOL, presented at TESOL '99. For more on TESOL '99, go to

LINKS to other writing-related sites

Creative Inspirations File Map - links to a number of writing based projects and sites

The English Room: 30 Days of Poetry - although designed for high school students, many of the prompts are easily adaptable to ABE and ESOL contexts.

The Five Paragraph Essay Wizard - persuasive essay and prompts.

(also search "five paragraph essay wizard" for yet more)

Flemington reading and writing - adult writing from Australia and the world.

In my own words - Adult learners writing for adult learners

Interlake Insights - Writings from adult learners in the Interlake Adult Learning Association Project

The Notre Dame Writing Center - resources, materials, a compellingly stated mission; for writers developed by writers.

Online Writery - "The Online Writery is an ever-evolving community of writers who offer a relaxing and open environment in which to discuss writing in any form. We offer suggestions and assistance with writing as well as forums for writers to meet one another and discuss ideas."

PEN American Center   A fellowship of writers working for more than seventy-five years to advance literature, to promote a culture of reading, and to defend free expression.

Purdue online writing lab - including searchable resources for writers, teachers and others, as well as links to and information about other online writing sites.

Research and writing - the step by step approach; the five paragraph essay

SABES writing theme - resource sites. and additional information, resources and rubrics.

Teaching and learning writing: a review of research and practice
  -  research as part of the first phase of a project that aims to identify principles of effective teaching and learning of writing for adult literacy learners, from the National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy.

Teachers and Writers Collaborative - a nonprofit organization, founded in 1967 by writers and educators " who believed that writers could make a unique contribution to the teaching of writing. T&W brings writers and educators together in collaborations that explore the connections between writing and reading literature and that generate new ideas and materials. T&W writers' diaries, as well as articles from other writers and teachers from around the country, are the source of T&W publications."

Teaching Expressive Writing to Students with Learning Disabilities - provides information on three instructional interventions that reliably and consistently lead to improved outcomes in teaching expressive writing; also provides links to other related resources.

Teaching Literacy through Creative Writing - Jane Ellen Ibur, LIFT Program, Missouri

Teaching writing skills - although part of a commercial site (Macmillan Publishers Ltd), resources adaptable for teaching writing at various levels.

Tips for teaching writing - Harvard Education Letter/Research online

The Write Site - "Provided by Greater Dayton (Ohio) Public Television, this site provides information on teaching and learning the basic skills of journalism. Features include the history of journalism and famous journalists, style tips, and pointers to relevant reference sites. Teachers can refer to the well-organized instructional guide, a guide that includes graphic organizers, task cards, and checklists (the last three available in Adobe Acrobat [.pdf] format only). Though designed for middle schoolers in Ohio, there is a great deal of useful information at this site for any middle school language arts class." (link to text only)

the Writing Den - interactive site with step by step prompts around various pieces of the writing process, suggested topics and a range of writing genres.

Write where you are: Teaching Writing  - Jane Mace  on teaching writing to adults.

New York's Literacy Assistance Center holds monthly practitioners' writing groups, described as an "opportunity for teachers, program managers, counselors and others to focus on their own writing, professional or personal." Practitioners are invited to meet monthly to "write, share, and give feedback in a supportive environment." A first meeting for practitioners in Rhode Island was held in November, 1997. We used these sessions as a forum for sharing journals, generating writing ideas, setting up email or other exchanges. LR/RI facilitated writing groups during the 1997-98 year, but has temporarily suspended the groups, given the sparse attendance of those meetings. Groups can be started again; to schedule one, please contact LR/RI
Professional development initiative

Some time ago, I spent a few days at the RI Dislocated Worker Program, facilitating classes for the three teachers there so that they could have an opportunity to observe one another's classes and to reflect on their learning and teaching. Their reflections were excerpted for the bulletin, and appear here so that others who would like to participate in this process of professional development can gain a sense of how peer observation might be useful in their practice. If you would like to participate in this form of professional development, please contact LR/RI. All that's required is your willingness to share your reflections about the observation/ learning process for others. I'm hoping to build a block of writing and thinking about this and other forms of our own professional development both through the bulletin and the web site. - Janet Isserlis

This page last updated on January 2, 2016

LR/RI home